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Name: In re G.M.
Case #: F057848
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/27/2010
Summary

The trial court was not compelled to consider whether there was a legal impediment to adoption. Mother appealed from an order terminating her parental rights, contending that the court erroneously excluded evidence on the eligibility of the prospective adoptive parent, an aunt who was married, but separated, and improperly failed to consider whether there was a legal impediment to adoption. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. The aunt’s marital status was a relevant issue for inquiry at trial. However, the trial court did not exclude evidence regarding whether a legal impediment existed. The court properly excluded an inquiry about the aunt’s suitability, but the mother did not specifically ask whether there was a legal impediment to adoption, such as whether the aunt was lawfully separated or had her husband’s consent to the adoption. Having not raised the legal impediment question in the trial court, mother failed to preserve the issue for appeal. Nor can the mother challenge the department’s inadequate assessment as she did not object to it below. Further, the court was not required to determine whether there was a legal impediment to adoption, because the social worker did not opine the children were adoptable based solely on the aunt’s willingness to adopt them. There was substantial evidence from which the trial court properly found that adoption was likely.